Uruguay vice president arrives on 7-day visit, to ink economic deals


New Delhi: In one of the most important bilateral visits, Danilo Astori, vice president of Latin American nation of Uruguay, arrives in India on a seven-day official visit Saturday, accompanied by a large delegation and will sign two important economic deals.

Support TwoCircles

“We attach in Uruguay great importance to the visit.. It is a ground breaking one,” Uruguay’s Ambassador to India Cesar Ferrer told IANS.

This will be one the “most significant bilateral visits in the last twelve years”, with the last visit of the Uruguayan vice president taking place in 1999.

“We expect to sign an agreement for the avoidance of double taxation and another one for cooperation in new and renewable energy during the visit,” he said.

The 70-year-old trained economist Astori will reach India late Saturday night in Mumbai, from where he will travel to Chennai, before concluding his visit in Delhi.

On Wednesday in the Uruguayan capital of Montevideo, Astori along with Indian Ambassador R. Viswanathan released a postal stamp on Rabindranath Tagore to mark the 150th birth anniversary of the Nobel laureate.

His delegation includes Minister of Industry, Energy and Mining, Roberto Kreimerman, senior government officials and heads of business chambers.

“It is the largest that Uruguay has ever sent to India and it is one of the largest that has been sent out to a foreign country… For our size, a 60-member delegation is quite big,” said Ferrer.

Indian companies have made significant investments in the small Latin American nation bordering the Atlantic Ocean – one of the most developed economies in the continent, with a population of 35 million.

In 2002, the Tata Consultancy Services (TCS) had opened a global delivery centre in Montevideo, which employees 900 Uruguayan staff. It was the first centre by the Indian telecom giant in South America, catering to the large Spanish-speaking market, especially in the United States. Thereafter, Geodesic also opened a software development centre.

The Uruguayan envoy pointed out that Uruguay’s own informational technology sector had developed after TCS’s entry into the market.

In the latest development, a mining company, Zammin Ferrous is reported to an investment of over a billion dollars to start iron-ore mining – the first time every in Uruguay.

“To come with sixty people, even if there was not much contacts before, means that there is a lot of interest in private sector and also in government to seek opportunities of business in India. We basically want to increase awareness, then the business people will themselves find ways to increase trade,” said Ferrer.

The Uruguayan leader will begin his official appointment in Mumbai Monday, with a meeting with Tata Group, especially TCS and Tata motors. Later in the day, he will also visit the offices of Aditya Birla Group and Essar Group.

Interestingly, Uruguay is also interested in extending its hands towards Bollywood. “We have officials from the Uruguayan film commission and promotion in the delegation and we have scheduled meetings with senior members of the Indian film industry,” he said.

The next day, the Uruguayan vice-president will meet with the Exim bank board officials to explore possibilities of finance for Indian companies to participate in projects in Uruguay.

In Chennai on Feb 23, Astori will inaugurate TCS’s $250 million building in Siruseri near Chennai, which has been designed by renowned Uruguayan architect Carlos Ott.

He will also visit the industrial plant of Indian wind energy firm, RRB energy.

In Delhi Thursday, he will hold formal discussions with Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, and also meet with the Lok Sabha speaker, Meira Kumar, followed by an important business seminar Friday.